Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Growing Aussie and Asian investment in the Israeli start-up scene

Growing Aussie and Asian investment in the Israeli start-up scene Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Asia, Australasia, Israel, Updates    

Israel is widely considered an international leader in entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, and it is said to have the highest density of start-ups per capita.  Now Aussie and Asian businesses and investors increasingly want to be part of the Israeli start up action, as seen by the many recent announcements of new business partnerships with Israeli companies.

Video: Prof. Efraim Inbar on Iran, the Islamisation of the eastern Mediterranean and more

Video: Prof. Efraim Inbar on Iran, the Islamisation of the eastern Mediterranean and more Categories: Asia, Iran, Israel, Multimedia, Palestinians, Turkey, Updates    

This post contains video excerpts of renowned Israeli academic Professor Efraim Inbar of Bar-Ilan University describing the current situation for Israel and the challenges it faces, including the troubling US-led nuclear deal with Iran, the growing Islamisation of the eastern Mediterranean, the spate of Palestinian stabbing attacks, and Israel's developing relations with Asia.

Syrian peace talks fail as Assad makes military gains

Syrian peace talks fail as Assad makes military gains Categories: Middle East, Russia, Syria, Updates    

In the Syrian civil war, the Assad regime has been making major gains of late, thanks in large part to Russian assistance, and looks likely to regain most or all of the parts of Aleppo, Syria's largest city, which it had lost to rebel groups over recent years. Meanwhile, last week's peace talks in Geneva, on which the US and other members of the international community had placed most of their hopes, failed to achieve anything and have been suspended. This Update is about the nexus between these two pieces of news.

Print edition

Noted and Quoted - February 2016 Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

An Australian delegation including Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne, Attorney-General George Brandis, Bronwyn Bishop MP, Senator Glenn Sterle and Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson recently visited Israel... ABC correspondent Sophie McNeill, however, initially chose to focus on an at times disharmonious West Bank visit by some of the delegation. In a story on the ABC website, (Dec. 16), McNeill wrote, "An Australian-led delegation to the West Bank... has been criticised by a Minister in the Palestinian Authority, who said the group had ‘false information' and were ‘not well educated'... Palestinian Minister for Education Dr Sabri Saidam described the meeting as ‘very explosive and very challenging' and said the group had asked ‘rude and blunt' questions."

Tim Wilson responded, in a post on Facebook, "Complete rubbish. Utter and complete rubbish. The article doesn't say what ‘facts' were wrong. Do you want to know what the key point of contention was?: should the Palestinians name schools after teenage suicide bombers. The Education Minister accepted it occurred and then called one of the suicide bombers a ‘national hero'."

Biblio File: Rabin's Revenge

Biblio File: Rabin's Revenge Author: Seth Mandel Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

Over the past two decades, though, something strange has happened. The two camps have switched sides. Israel's left bitterly credits Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir, with victory; the two-state solution is dead, they say, and its death throes began that night in 1995. Meanwhile, many of the leaders on Israel's right, including its past two prime ministers, now essentially express their agreement with the goal of Oslo. The fulfilment of Rabin's peace process, they say, will be necessary in the long term to secure a viable future for the Jewish state.

Behind the News - February 2016

Behind the News - February 2016 Categories: Asia, India, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Syria, Terrorism    

On Dec. 14, a Palestinian driver rammed passengers at a bus stop in Jerusalem, critically injuring a baby and injuring ten other people. On Jan. 1, Israeli Arab Nashat Milhem carried out a shooting attack in central Tel Aviv, killing Shimon Ruimi, 30, and Alon Bakal, 24, and wounding seven others. Milhem then hailed a taxi and subsequently killed the driver, Amin Shaaban, a Bedouin father of 11.

On Jan. 17, a 16-year-old Palestinian terrorist entered the West Bank settlement of Otniel and stabbed to death 39-year-old mother of six Dafna Meir outside her home, as some of her children watched. On Jan. 25, two Palestinians stabbed two Israeli women and threw pipe bombs at a grocery store in the West Bank settlement of Beit Horon, killing Shlomit Krigman, 23.

Madaya and an empowered Iran

Madaya and an empowered Iran Author: Avi Issacharoff Categories: Iran, Syria    

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Saturday, Jan. 16, that "it's now time for all - especially Muslim nations - to join hands and rid the world of violent extremism. Iran is ready." 

That assertion coincided with the latest report that another resident of Madaya, the Syrian city besieged by the forces of (Iranian ally) President Bashar al-Assad, had died of starvation... About 250,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war, the vast majority of them by Assad's Iran-assisted forces.

Asia Watch: On the Crest of a Wave?

Asia Watch: On the Crest of a Wave? Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Terrorism    

The explosions that rocked downtown Jakarta in broad daylight on Jan. 14 surprised only those who were unlucky enough to be in the vicinity at that time. There had been hints of what was to come for weeks.

After the coordinated attacks across Paris in November, Bahrun Naim, a former Internet café employee in Solo now based in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, published a blog in which he explained to his followers how it was easy to move jihad from "guerrilla warfare" in Indonesia's equatorial jungles to a city.

Deconstruction Zone: Farewell... Author: Yehonathan Tommer Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia    

My first interview for AIR lasted barely ten minutes. That was in 1978, shortly after the Camp David Agreement was signed in Washington in September by Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin. 

Those were heady days, brightened by hope for subsequent peace agreements with each of Israel's neighbours. I'd lined up an interview with Hebrew University Middle East specialist Professor Amnon Cohen to talk about the ramifications of peace with Egypt...

Media Microscope: A Farewell to Sanctions Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Iran, Media/ Academia    

The significance of lifting economic sanctions on Iran under the P5+1 nuclear deal was given appropriate media coverage in mid-January.

On ABC Radio National "Breakfast" (Jan. 18), Teheran University's Professor Mohammad Marandi told Fran Kelly Iran has "done everything they were supposed to do and probably a bit more. But unfortunately as soon as the announcement was made... the United States... expanded the sanctions regime."

Religious Zionism and "price tag" terrorism
Murder charges: Amiram Ben-Uliel

Religious Zionism and "price tag" terrorism Author: Andrew Friedman Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

In addition to ongoing Palestinian terror attacks, Israel has been rocked over the past year by a series of attacks against Palestinian individuals and property, presumably committed by members of the religious Zionist community. The attacks, known as "price tag" attacks, led to the administrative detention of a group of young religious nationalists from the small ultra-nationalist/religious movement known colloquially as the "hilltop youth", following an arson attack last July on a home in the Palestinian village of Duma.

Judicial jujitsu awaits Israel's new A-G
New Israeli A-G Avichai Mandelblit

Judicial jujitsu awaits Israel's new A-G Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

Politics and the law, wrote Israeli jurist Haim Cohen, must be separated because the one thrives on partiality and the other on impartiality.

At the same time, the legislative and executive branches must also interface routinely and intensely, a dynamic that in most democracies happens, one way or another, through the office of the Attorney-General (A-G).

However, whereas most countries, including Australia, assign this office to a politician, Israel's 13 Attorneys-General have all been unelected career jurists, seven of whom, including Cohen, proceeded from that position to the Supreme Court.

NZ Icon takes on Antisemitism
Sir James McNeish

NZ Icon takes on Antisemitism Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia    

Back in 2014, at the height of the Israel-Gaza conflict, I wrote about the extreme nature of anti-Israel protests and public pronouncements. I pondered whether there might perhaps be a stream of antisemitism, disguised as anti-Israel sentiment, growing in New Zealand.

These concerns are shared by other New Zealanders, non-Jewish as well as Jewish.

One prominent example is Sir James McNeish, a critically acclaimed novelist, playwright and biographer. 

Gaza and Hamas' Tunnels/ The French Peace Ultimatum

Gaza and Hamas' Tunnels/ The French Peace Ultimatum Categories: Europe, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

This Update offers two pieces on the situation in Hamas-ruled Gaza - where Hamas openly admits its priority is building tunnels into Israel to facilitate terrorism while internationally-funded rebuilding efforts there remain sluggish. A further piece analyzes the implications of a recent French ultimatum demanding an international peace conference be called to create an Israeli-Palestinian two state resolution, or else Paris will recognise "Palestine" as a state.

ISIL's bid to unite Southeast Asian jihadists

ISIL's bid to unite Southeast Asian jihadists Author: Zachary Abuza Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

The pathways to recruitment to ISIL are slightly different than in the past. In Indonesia, ISIL has been able to graft onto much of JI's social network, owing in large part to people such as Abu Bakar Ba'asyir and Abdurrahman Aman's early pledges of allegiance to ISIL. In addition to JI's mosques, madrassas and kinship networks, ISIL members have effectively used the prisons as epicentres of recruitment and radicalisation.

China's Quest for Jewish "Secrets"

China's Quest for Jewish "Secrets" Author: James Ross Categories: China, International Jewry    

During my first trip to China in the summer of 1985, I visited English Corner in People's Park in Shanghai one Sunday afternoon. It's one of the places where young Chinese people used to practise their English with visiting foreigners. Officials from the university where I was teaching in Shanghai escorted me there, and a big crowd quickly gathered to talk with me - a tall, curly-haired foreigner - and pushed closer to shower me with questions.

Scribblings: Two Quotes

Scribblings: Two Quotes Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Iraq, Israel, Palestinians    

What Netanyahu was actually saying - a two-state resolution is not possible "today" - is actually the view almost across the spectrum in Israel. Opposition leader Herzog - a smart and sincere man - thinks the same thing.

Print edition
Essay: The Birth of the Terror Selfie

Essay: The Birth of the Terror Selfie Author: Matti Friedman Categories: Israel, Lebanon    

This fall and winter have seen many of us here in Israel consuming a miserable kind of reality TV: blurry clips of young Palestinian Muslims with knives seeking release in murder and martyrdom, lunging, stabbing, falling stricken to the ground, the action captured by cellphones or security cameras; an imam in Gaza waving a knife and calling on the faithful to render us into "body parts"; a fighter from the Islamic State, our new neighbour, warning us of the violence he and his comrades will inflict when they arrive.

Deterring Iran

Deterring Iran Author: Michael Herzog Categories: International Security, Iran    

As the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 goes into effect with the announcement of Implementation Day and the lifting of major international sanctions on Jan. 16, the huge challenge of making it work still lies ahead for the international community. While the deal's prospects will primarily be determined by Western deterrence against Iran, recent events preceding this new strategic era have eroded Western deterrence rather than strengthening it.

China goes to the Middle East

China goes to the Middle East Author: Michael Singh Categories: China, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia    

Even as the Iran nuclear deal and the potential for rapprochement between Teheran and the West have inspired countless op-eds, China's budding relationship with Iran has gone relatively unremarked upon. But on Jan. 23, Chinese President Xi Jinping became the first world leader to visit Iran after the deal. Xi stated that he sought to open a "new chapter" in China's relations with Iran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, "The Islamic Republic will never forget China's cooperation during [the] sanctions era."

Editorial: The Opposite of Moderation Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: International Security, Iran    

Those who were hoping last year's nuclear deal would lead to positive change in Iranian politics and foreign policy can be assured that change does indeed appear to be occurring. Unfortunately for the world, however, virtually all change so far appears to be for the worse.

Israeli government launches major program to boost investment in Israeli Arab sectors

Israeli government launches major program to boost investment in Israeli Arab sectors Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Israel's cabinet has approved a five-year plan worth around $15 billion shekels (US$3.85 billion) for social and employment development for Israel's Arab community. The plan seeks to improve education, public transportation, highway infrastructure, employment, public security, law enforcement, sports ands community services, as well as facilitate the future construction of tens of thousands of housing units in minority communities.